Steve Smith at centre of selection dilemma after Tim David heroics

Steve Smith and Tim David are pictured side by side.
Former Test captain Steve Smith is at risk of being dropped for the T20 World Cup after another stunning performance from Tim David. Pictures: Getty Images

Steve Smith and Marcus Stoinis could be on the Australian T20 chopping block after the unheralded Tim David pushed a brilliant case for World Cup selection against the West Indies on Friday.

David, in his fifth T20 appearance for Australia, needed just 20 minutes at the crease to turn the match, smashing a powerful 42 runs from 20 deliveries in a pivotal innings.

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The Singapore-born batsman had made his mark in an earlier appearance against India in Hyderabad last month, but his follow-up against the West Indies had David Warner declaring selectors had a problem on their hands.

Picking between the in-form David, former Test captain Smith and highly-rated all-rounder Stoinis is a good problem to have, but it will nonetheless be an interesting sub-plot leading into the World Cup.

Four boundaries in a row from David off the bowling of Obed McCoy set up the innings, including consecutive sixes over mid-wicket - one of them travelling roughly 110m.

Earlier, Warner (75 off 41 balls) had given Australia's innings its impetus in typical cavalier style before David showcased what an outstanding finisher he is with three sixes in a powerhouse cameo.

The West Indies, restricted to 8-147, were always off the pace chasing Australia's 7-178.

David and Smith, who came in at No.4, are both in Australia's T20 World Cup squad and could be battling it out for one regular spot in the middle order.

Smith (17 off 16) struggled at the end of the innings, whereas David thrived and put pressure on Australia's selectors.

The Mumbai Indians signed the 26-year-old for $1.5 million at the 2022 IPL auction to signify how highly regarded the Singapore-born right-hander is as a T20 finisher.

Warner said Australia would have Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell as finishers in the World Cup, but added that David's "incredible" skills displayed at the Gabba posed a question.

"Where does he fit in the line-up as well and what is his role? Coming out and playing that role perfectly when it was a hard (Gabba) wicket to start on really opens our eyes to how we utilise that," he said.

"For Mumbai, he came out and got 30s and 40s off eight or nine balls. It is incredible. You don't get these types of players every day.

"It is going to be good for us moving forward. Hopefully, there is a spot there (for David) as well. The selectors have got a headache now I think."

Tim David earns praise as T20 World Cup selection bid heats up

Warner, now one of the world's leading Test match performers, played T20 cricket for Australia in 2009 before ever playing a first-class match.

It is the same path David has taken so far after he was signed by Mumbai in the IPL this year for $1.5 million without having played first-class cricket.

Warner was asked whether he recognised the traits he shared with David.

"Not in height, stature or power," Warner grinned.

"He has got some incredible power. If he has got the ambitions to play one-day cricket and Test cricket for Australia, then that is definitely how he is obviously going to take that pathway which is fantastic.

"With his background ... he has chosen to play the T20 franchise circuit which is great for him. It is a starting platform."

Tim David plays a shot against the West Indies.
Tim David needed just 20 minutes and as many deliveries to hang 46 runs on the West Indies at the Gabba on Friday night. (Photo by PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Warner said it was up to David to work out what his priorities were.

"But now he is in our team and our set-up, it is a godsend because he is an incredible player," Warner said.

"He has got some serious power. It boosts our middle order."

Warner said it was "great" on a personal level to play so well at the Gabba, but added that defending their World Cup title at home was Australia's focus.

"It would be massive. For us, it's about not worrying about the hype and the external stuff. It is about producing our skill day-in and day-out and making sure we are executing that to the best of our ability," Warner said.

"Don't leave any energy in the tank. Give it our best shot. We are here on home soil. We want to entertain and we want to take it deep. We have to start well against New Zealand."

With AAP

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